Zeyuan Hu's page

Crash course in handling my name

First of all, I'm very grateful that you're willing to click the link and glance at this page. Chinese name can be hard to write and pronounce. This guide deals with the prounciation part.

Prounciation tricks

Over the years, I have developed a set of tricks to help non-chinese speakers prounce my name. Feel free to pick the one that works for you the best!

If you use a trick that is different from the above, feel free to shoot me an email.

FAQ

I notice you write "Ze-Yuan" and "Zeyuan" interchangeably. Are they the same? What's the difference between those two?

Thanks for asking. That's a very good question. Chinese given name can be very different from Western naming conventions. Technically, Chinese names are usually formed by two Chinese characters. Usually, any two-character combinations can work and they do not necessarily form a word. The definition of word can be ambiguous in Chinese because a word in Chinese can be formed by a single Chinese character or two characters. One may argue that a Chinese character is best considered as a morpheme. Thus, whether we use hyphen or not when writing Chinese names in Pinyin really depends on whether those two characters can form a word. For example, "Ze" means water in Chinese and "Yuan" means travelling further. Those two characters combined together doesn't form a word with a valid semantics and should be treated as two words. Thus, "Ze-Yuan" is more appropriate than "Zeyuan". However, in my passport, "Zeyuan" is used, thus "Zeyuan" should be used more for legal documents. So, to sum up, use either "Ze-Yuan" or "Zeyuan" is fine: "Zeyuan" is for legal but "Ze-Yuan" is better from linguistic perspective.

That's it! Thanks for reading!